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Biden: Buffalo Massacre Was Domestic Terrorism; Trump Reaffirms Support For Cawthorn In Crowded NC Primary. Aired 12:30-1p ET
Aired May 17, 2022 - 12:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Ten lives cut short in a grocery store, three other wounded -- three -- three other wounded by a hate-filled individual who had driven 200 miles from Binghamton, in that range, to carry out a murderous, racist rampage that he would livestream, livestream to the world.
What happened here is simple and straightforward, terrorism, terrorism, domestic terrorism. Violence inflicted in the service of hate and the vicious thirst for power that defines one group of people being inherently inferior to any other group. A hate that, through the media and politics, the internet, has radicalized angry, alienated, lost, and isolated individuals into falsely believing that they will be replaced, that's the word, replaced by the other, by people who don't look like them, and who are therefore in a perverse ideology, that they poses and being fed lesser beings.
I and all of you reject the lie. I call on all Americans to reject the lie, and I condemn those who spread the lie for power, political gain, and for profit.
That's what it is. We've now seen too many times the deadly and destructive violence this ideology unleashes. We heard the chants, you will not replace us, in Charlottesville, Virginia. I wasn't going to run, as the senator knows, again for president. When I saw those people coming out of the woods of the fields in Virginia, in Charlottesville, carrying torches, shouting, you will not replace us, accompanied by white supremacists and carrying Nazi banners, that's when I said, no, no.
And I, honest to God, those who know me, Chuck, you know, I wasn't going to run for certain. But I was going to be darned if I was going to let anyway. I'll get going.
Look, we've seen the mass shootings in Charleston, South Carolina, El Paso, Texas, in Pittsburgh, last year in Atlanta, this weak in Dallas, Texas, and now in Buffalo, in Buffalo, New York.
White supremacy is a poison. It's a poison running through -- it really is, running through our body politic. And it's been allowed to fester and grow right in front of our eyes. No more. I mean, no more. We need to say as clearly and forcefully as we can that the ideology of white supremacy has no place in America, none. And look, failure for us to not say -- failure to saying that is going to be complicity. Silence is complicity. It's complicity. We cannot remain silent. Our nation's strength has always come from the idea, it's going to sound corny, but think about it, what's the idea of our nation? That we're all children of God. All children -- life, liberty, our universal goods, gifts of God. We didn't get it from the government. We got it because we exist.
We were called upon to defend them. The venom of the haters and their weapons of war, of violence in the words and deeds of the -- that stalk our streets, our stores, our schools. This venom, this violence cannot be the story of our time. We cannot allow that to happen.
Look, I'm not naive. I know tragedy will come again. It cannot be forever overcome. It cannot be fully understood either. But there are certain things we can do. We can keep assault weapons off our streets. We've done it before. I did it when I passed the crime bill last time, and violence went down, shootings went down. We can't prevent people from being radicalized to violence, but we can address the relentless exploitation of the internet to recruit and mobilize terrorism. We just need to have the courage to do that, to stand up.
Look, the American experiment in democracy is in a danger like it hasn't been in my lifetime. It's in danger this hour. Hate and fear are being given too much oxygen by those who pretend to love America, but who don't understand America. To confront the ideology of hate requires caring about all people. Not making distinctions. Reverend, the scripture, and seeing that we're all part of the divine, love thy neighbor as thy self.
That's the America I know, that Jill knows. And most deserve the most -- look, we are the most multiracial, most dynamic nation in the history of the world. Now is the time for the people of all races, from every background to speak up as a majority in America and reject white supremacy. These actions we've seen in these hate-filled attacks represent the views of a hate-filled minority.
We can't allow them to distort America, the real America. We can't allow them to destroy the soul of the nation. As President of the United States, I travel the world all the time. And other nations ask me, heads of state in other countries ask me, what's going on? What in God's name happened on January 6th? What happened in Buffalo? They'll ask.
We have to refuse to live in a country where Black people going about a weekly grocery shopping can be gunned down by weapons of war deployed in a racist cause. We have to refuse to live in a country where fear and lies are packaged for power and for profit. We must all enlist in this great cause of America.
This is work that requires all of us, presidents, politicians, commentators, citizens. None of us can stay on the sidelines. We have to resolve that here in Buffalo, that from the tragedy, this tragedy, will come hope and light and life. It has to. And that on our watch, the sacred cause of America will never bow, never break, never bend. And the America we love, the one we love will endure. So to the families, from your pain, may we find purpose to live life worthy of the loved ones you lost.
From a hymn based on the 91st Psalm that's sung at my church, may he raise you up on eagle's wings and bear you on the breath of dawn, make you to shine like the sun, and hold you in the palm of his hand.
That's my wish for us. We can do this if we resolve to do it. If we take on the haters and those who don't even care, it's just about profit and politics. May the soul of the fallen rest in peace and rise in glory. And may God guide the United States of America now and always.
To the families, as my grand pop used to say when I walked out of his home in Scranton, he'd say, Joey, spread the faith, and my grandma would yell, no Joey -- I mean he would say keep the faith, and my grandma would say no, Joey, spread the faith. We're thinking of you. Hold on to each other tightly. Stick together. You'll get through this, and we'll make Buffalo and the United States a better place to live than it is today.
JOHN KING, CNN HOST: The President of the United States, there's some very strong very emotional words in Buffalo, New York, beginning with a tribute to each of the 10 victims in the top supermarket shooting, taking time to name them by name. And if we could please out of respect as the President just showed, show the victims is horrific hate, violence in Buffalo, New York.
The President starting there with a message to the family saying that in this horrible moment, that he is with them, that the country is with them, and his hope from personal tragedy, the President says that they can get through this. Then the President went on very strong words condemning white supremacy. He said evil will not win, hate will not prevail. White supremacy will not have the last word. The President discussing some things the government could perhaps do, but then also essentially issuing a moral call to action saying that Americans across the country just must stand up against what he called an ideology hate and profit on the internet. White supremacy, the President said, is a poison running through our body politic.
Olivier Knox, MJ Lee, Nia-Malika Henderson, and Dana Bash are still with me. The President's first job here, MJ, is to try to console the community. But there was there, a much more personal, much more visceral reaction to the President to the hate. He did not name names. But he talked about how this is. He said it was minority, but as a powerful coarsening culture in the politics.
MJ LEE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. You know, at the top of the show, we were discussing and trying to figure out, you know, is this a speech where the President will discuss at length gun control, and he only discussed it a little bit, and I think it felt entirely appropriate that the President spend most of his time. And most of the speech sort of honoring the victims are really reaching out to members of the community, saying, you know, Jill and I, the First Lady and I, really understand what it means, he said, to lose a piece of your soul, that feeling of being unable to breathe, sort of that, you know, searing pain that you feel that only some people experience when they lose a loved one that felt entirely appropriate.
But I think you're right that another major part of that speech, was talking about the hate, the racism that is being spewed by people in media, he said, people in politics, and they're doing it for cynical reasons. I was thinking back on the White House press briefing yesterday, when the White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was being asked, is the President willing to name certain people who have these massive platforms, and are publicly, you know, espousing these kinds of views?
And she said, for now, he is not going to be naming names. I do think that's just a space to watch. Because if you're not naming names, how do you hold these people accountable.
KING: Right. Hate and fear are given too much oxygen by those who claim, claim to love America worse than the present?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, white supremacy has no place in America. And this was the key, which I think you're getting at MJ. Failure to say that is complicity. That is so important. It is so important. It's not just the people who are openly stoking this hate online, or on T.V., or even in the halls of Congress. But the people who don't say stop, the people who don't call it out. That is seen.
I mean, you can look at studies and conversations that people, experts, journalists have had with white supremacist, when they hear silence, that is a green light to them. The other thing I just want to say is that we've all covered presidents, and you can tell when they're talking about something which they feel in their soul. And they're so unfortunately, in this case, fluent with and that is from Joe Biden grief. But also, the fact that he said he ran because of the hate that he saw in Charlottesville, whether it was George W. Bush talking about education, or name your president talking about something that drove them to run.
This was Joe Biden's issue. This was the issue that he wanted to express in a very visceral, very emotional, very personal way. And he did.
KING: The question is, how do you sustain it in the sense that the President of the United States saying there's a venom, venom of hate in our politics? It cannot be the story of our time. Well, then how do you bend the arc?
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, it has been the story of our time. It has been the story of America, these sort of twin cultures, not only gun culture, but also white supremacist culture as well. And gun culture, in some ways being used to reinforce white supremacy, as we saw, in this instance, in Buffalo. And as we've seen, in other instances, El Paso, in Pittsburgh, in Charleston as well, a few years ago.
You know, Biden was talking about two Americans. He talked about the ordinary African Americans, many of whom came to Buffalo fleeing racial violence. You think about all the ways in which these northern black towns came to existence, a lot of those folks were fleeing oppression in the south only to be met with oppression and racist violence in these northern cities, going about their daily lives at a grocery store, that is one America.
And the other America, the kind of racism that is course through this country for decades and hasn't been denounced enough, hasn't been routed out enough. And oftentimes, it is African Americans who talk about racism. It is really a white cultural problem that white Americans have to come to terms with. Why is it that African Americans and brown and black people more generally are seen as the other or demonize us so easily?
In a lot of our politics, you know, we still talk about white supremacy, but it's also the ways in which people talk about folks coming across the border, the demonization that goes around about those folks that somehow they also are a threat to Americans.
KING: There are a lot of people who say that they're not racist. They've never said a racist thing who used words that are code, you mentioned silence encourages this so does certain words, and certain actions as well. And so the President there asking everybody to think about what you say we'll see if that happens. We'll be right back, a quick break.
KING: Back to our big primary day across America now it is Donald Trump versus just about everybody in the Republican establishment in North Carolina today. Congressman Madison Cawthorn is seeking a second term in North Carolina's 11th district. Trump says Cawthorn deserves a second chance. If you don't recognize the name, maybe you remember the headlines, twice, twice caught carrying a loaded gun in an airport, charged for driving with a revoked license.
Rebuked by Republican colleagues after claiming some invited him to an orgy and that they use cocaine. He also has been accused by multiple women of sexual harassment which he denies. Our reporters are back with us. This on truth social from the former president yesterday, when Madison was first elected to Congress, he did a great job. Recently, he made some foolish mistakes, which I don't believe he'll make again. Let's give Madison a second chance. So late, not one of those complete and total endorsements but Donald Trump trying to put his thumb on the scale here.
OLIVIER KNOX, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, THE WASHINGTON POST: That was really light. It was a really light touch, pretty lukewarm. I don't I'm not even sure you can call it a full endorsement. You know, does Madison Cawthorn deserve a second chance and having a third chance and having a fifth chance? You know, obviously, the voters of North Carolina will decide that.
But I didn't think it was --
KING: Can you say that again?
KNOX: Sure. Deserve a second chance, at a third chance, that a fifth chance, the voters will decide. But I didn't think it was that -- I don't think he's putting himself on the line the same way he is for Oz in Pennsylvania where it's endorsement after endorsement. It's robo calls in favor of that campaign. It's attacking Oz's rivals. It's just -- it's not an -- he's not playing -- he's not drawing from the same playbook here at all.
KING: Right, so you would ask, you might ask because so many other Republicans are against this. They just view this kid as a cancer on the party. They view him as trouble, and they don't want any more of it. His House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, he's lost my trust. Senator Thom Tillis, Republican in North Carolina first time in my career, I'm opposing a sitting Republican. Richard Burr, the retiring senator in North Carolina, an embarrassment on any day that ends in Y.
But Donald Trump has decided late, again, it's not the full and complete, so he'll find a way to say well, whatever. But he's, this is Donald Trump versus everybody.
BASH: Right. That's exactly right. And to have this kind of situation with Congressman Cawthorn in the kind of trouble, allegations, and photos that have been surfacing, and more importantly, the kind of response that you just put up on the screen from very important Republicans who served within Congress would have been game over, see you later, for him.
He would have not even been -- he would have been felt the pressure to not run again or even quit, outright quit. But this is the Trump era on steroids. It is him saying, well, wait a minute, this is not modern politics. Modern politics means you stick it out and you fight. That's what Donald Trump did and that's what I'm doing.
KING: And so why let's just listen for one sec, why might Donald Trump be loyal to Madison Cawthorn? You mentioned this earlier in the context of Pennsylvania because of this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MADISON CAWTHORN (R-NC): I believe that this was agitators strategically placed inside of this group. You can call them Antifa. You can call them people paid by the Democratic machine.
If our election systems continue to be rigged and continue to be stolen, then it's going to lead to one place and it's bloodshed.
The Zelenskyy is a thug. Remember, the Ukrainian government is incredibly corrupt and is incredibly evil.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: For Trump, that's a trifecta. January 6th was the other guys, that was Antifa. No, it was a mob of pro Trump people. Our election was stolen. Zelenskyy is a thug. I mean, that's ding, ding, ding.
HENDERSON: No, I think that's right. He uses the kind of language that makes Donald Trump's heart sing. I mean, in some instances he's using -- he's used his exact words, when he said, you know, some of the videos were locker room talk or whatever, which is exactly what Donald Trump said himself when he came under fire.
You know, it's odd that he sort of at the last minute endorsing him, but I think, to your point, he has been a true Trumpist, Madison Cawthorn. And he understands that you can gain a lot of fundraising dollars that there is a whole other part of the Republican Party. That's not just sitting senators. That's not just up even your constituents. That's completely outside of that. And he still probably has a lot of name recognition and the most name recognition in the seat he's running for even though he tried to run in another seat, and then he ran back to the other one. So there's all sorts of, you know, hot ass mess things going on in this race.
KING: That's between the two of you. I don't know how to pick on that one. Our Dianne Gallagher was in the district talking to some voters and you get a mixed reaction. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHIPLEY, HENDERSON COUNTY VOTER: I think he's a good kid. It's political. Everybody's trying to, you know, do what they can to make themselves look good and make the opponent look bad.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot of it, it's made up, fabricated stuff.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He a real narcissistic. And I'm just not into that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Two of those voters question, it's all political. It's all made up. That's one of the giant challenges it's for us at this table and for people in our business to read gaining the trust of people who just listened to that silo that if you, you know, Madison, you could look at his own words but they -- it's all made up.
LEE: Well, the thing that Nia said about how he decided to run in a different district and then came back to his own district, I mean, that might actually be the thing that strikes some voters as the most sort of politician thing to do. He's trying to run as the anti- establishment pro Trump guy. Well, that probably doesn't work in his favor.
KING: Probably not. Thanks for joining us today in Inside Politics. I hope all of you can come back tonight when we count the votes in North Carolina's 11th district and elsewhere. We'll be here late tonight counting him in five states. Ana Cabrera picks up our coverage after a quick break. Have a good afternoon.